U.S. Treasury refines proposal to enforce 15% global minimum corporate tax

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WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury on Monday proposed a new mechanism to comply with and enforce a 15% global corporate minimum tax agreed to last year by 136 countries, partly by denying deductions for taxes paid in jurisdictions with lower rates.

The new Undertaxed Profits Rule proposed as part of President Joe Biden's fiscal 2023 budget plan would replace the current U.S. Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) with a new system that would act as a "top-up tax" to ensure that multinational corporations pay an effective tax rate of at least 15%, the Treasury said in budget documents released on Monday.

The global minimum tax deal negotiated through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is aimed at ending a downward competitive spiral of corporate rates and an erosion of government revenues while denying advantages to tax-haven countries.

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A key feature of Treasury's proposed rule is that it would generate additional revenue by denying deductions to companies to the extent that they are paying a tax rate below 15%, a U.S. Treasury official told Reuters.

In the event that U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies use U.S. deductions and credits to lower their effective tax rates below 15%, the proposal includes a domestic tax to capture the difference in the United States, rather than cede it to foreign countries, matching mechanisms imposed by other countries.

The official said Treasury was ready to work with Congress on enabling legislation to ensure that the benefits of U.S. tax credits and other incentives for American corporations are preserved.

The new plan, which applies to companies with global revenues over $850 million conforms to so-called "model rules" for the global minimum tax agreed to last December.

The proposal is the latest in a series of tax changes floated by the Treasury over the past year to negotiate and implement the sweeping global tax deal, which also includes a separate "pillar" that seeks to reallocate international taxing rights on large tech companies and other highly profitable multinationals.

The Biden administration had sought to include tax changes to implement the global minimum tax into a sweeping social and climate investment bill, but that legislation stalled in Congress at the end of 2021.

Biden's budget seeks to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and boost the current U.S. overseas minimum rate to 20% from 10.5%, along with higher taxes on wealthy individuals read more

The legislative path forward to meet a 2023 deadline to implement the minimum tax is unclear.

By including the new plan in the Treasury "green book" of budget revenue proposals, the Biden administration is showing that it is "still very, very committed to a global consensus on a global minimum tax," said Manal Corwin, head of KPMG's Washington national tax practice and a former U.S. Treasury tax official.

"From a messaging perspective it's important, because you see the Treasury at least building into their budget that they're following the global architecture," Corwin said.

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Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Mark Porter & Shri Navaratnam

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